The Three Journals of Positivity

       I’ve always been interested in journaling, but not about the day’s events. That felt too mundane for me and I would almost immediately quit. As I grew older, I became very interested in positive reading and music. I wanted to compile my favorite inspirations somewhere other than my Facebook wall. I felt every bogged down by the world’s negative energy. I needed to recharge-to boost my happiness level and stay positive. The idea struck me to start a happiness journal and it actually stuck!

    First, I purchased the handmade sari journal from a B&N in D.C. in 2014. I started collecting quotes and anything that inspired me. It is a very special journal that calms and grounds me. I can’t even explain my love for this one. I even keep a bucket list in the back (it is a work-in-progress).

     The green notebook came next. I started coming up with five things that I’m grateful for every morning. This stemmed from my efforts to make my days more positive and productive. I needed something to write them in and grabbed a cheap journal (notebook) while I was in the store. Hey, at least it’s cute and fits me perfectly!

     The yellow journal is one that I am very excited about. I am planning on visiting an ashram in about a month, and wanted something to take notes in. I started getting back into chanting and decided to also keep chants/verses and notes on yogic living in this journal also. This way, I always have them together and accessible. 

     I find this type of journaling relaxing and uplifting. Most people like to read inspirational or positive quotes. Why not compile your favorites? It has been a very positive change, and I can’t wait to see how it grows and helps me to spiritually evolve. 

Namaste. 



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Sanskrit in the Mountains

   Last year, I was invited to a place called Yogaville. Hidden in the mountains of Virginia, this retreat proved to be just what I needed. Not only did it provide me with a relaxing weekend, it completely changed my life. I have craved that place since I left it. The spirit, positive energy, and genuine beauty of the people and the ashram were nothing short of inspirational.

    Before that visit, I had never experienced chanting. I remember walking into the room terrified, because I knew that my first guided meditation session would include chanting. I survived it with little embarrassment, and found it to be very relaxing. Fast-forward to the Saturday night ceremony and I was absolutely, 100% terrified. I went from being a stay at home mom and isolated student, to sitting in a room full of strangers chanting Sanskrit. I had a choice to make: I could allow my embarrassment to ruin the experience for me, or I could dive in and and learn as much as possible. I chose the latter. I thought about our human nature and how we are so easily embarrassed-an emotion that forces us to miss out on many of life’s greatest moments. So, I chose adventure. 

      I fumbled my way through the words and appreciated the music being played. I watched the other attendees swaying back and forth, eyes closed, lost in verse. I envied them. I wanted to feel free. 

      Something amazing happened and halfway through the ceremony, I felt it. I felt the energy rush over me like a wave of peace. I felt connected to the words that I previously feared, and I was completely devoted to the ceremony. When it was over, I felt relaxed, collected, energized, and awake to the world around me. I wanted to stay in that world forever. 

     Sanskrit is a beautiful language that is intimidating at first glance. Fortunately, there are many websites and videos that offer assistance with understanding and pronouncing the verses. There is something magical hidden within those words. Once you learn how and the words slide off of your tongue, you are hooked. It is also open to any religion, and is not limited to practicing Hindus. There are unrelated chants that can be used by anyone. Buddhists use chanting, and that is a philosophy that does not praise any god or idol. So, don’t feel like you are betraying your current belief system by practicing a chant.

       I am working on an at-home practice, and will be visiting another ashram within the next couple of months. I hope that this story brought hope to someone who has been afraid to try chanting, for fear of being embarrassed or doing it incorrectly. Free yourself. As long as you are practicing and are reciting them from a place of truth, you will feel the calming and restoring effects of the chant. 

Om Namah Shivaya.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

                 (More on that later)
Namaste.